Savart Journal

science and technology of stringed musical instruments

A Presentation and Analysis of a Guitar Playing Technique where a String is Plucked at the Midpoint

Tim Wong

Abstract

This paper discusses a novel guitar playing technique where the string is plucked at the midpoint to generate a special tone. The physics and harmonic composition of the tone are analyzed using an ideal string model. The model predicts that only the odd harmonics are excited when plucking at the midpoint of the string, and frequency analysis of a recording on a real guitar confirmed significant reduction of the amplitudes of the even harmonics. Alternate locations plucked along the string are also analyzed, and while the amplitudes of the harmonics varied somewhat in the different plucks, no distinct pattern was detected. A clear pattern was only observed plucking at the midpoint location: an alternating pattern of reduced even harmonics and prominent odd harmonics that I termed the "Golden Note."

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Article published Apr 10, 2023.
This article has been accessed 59 times since publication.

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The Savart Journal is published in collaboration with the Guild of American Luthiers.

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Tim Wong
United States